‘Reduced-fat milk is much fatter than low-fat milk’

The Consumer Council warned on Wednesday that reduced-fat milk could contain twice as much fat as low-fat milk, saying customers should read nutrition labels carefully.

The watchdog said it had recently tested 40 milk products – with around 10 of them claiming to be reduced-fat or low-fat – and results showed that their fat content could be quite different.

It said reduced-fat milk samples contained 2.1 grammes of fat per 100ml on average, almost double the amount in low-fat samples.

The council’s Lui Wing-cheong called on customers to check nutrition labels carefully.

“Although ‘reduced-fat’ and ‘low-fat’ seemingly differ by only one word, the total fat content of reduced-fat samples was around one-fold higher than that of low-fat milk beverages, consumers should pay heed when purchasing such beverages,” he said.

He added that two Japanese milk samples also contained more fat than they suggested..

“Milk with a higher fat content is richer in taste, yet consumers looking to have a lower fat intake should be mindful of this when choosing [milk].”

The council added that the calcium content in “high-calcium milk” samples varied greatly, with some brands containing half as much calcium than others.

The watchdog said it had asked the Centre for Food Safety to follow up on a few cases where the milk samples did not fulfil the nutritional content requirement for them to be labelled as “high calcium” or “contain protein”.

The council’s chief executive Gilly Wong also reminded people not to rely on milk as their sole source for protein, as all of the samples tested contained less than 5 grammes of protein per 100ml.

According to experts, an average sedentary man should consume about 56 grammes of protein per day, while the average woman should eat about 46 grammes.